Physical restraint of acting-out children

Staff in kindergartens, schools and residential treatments sometimes intervene physically when a child is acting out, by physically restraining the child. This is an immediate and temporary measure that is used when verbal intervention doesn´t work and the child is in danger of hurting himself or others. Physical restraint means that the staff sits down and restrain the child in the lap, stand up and restrain the child in arms and legs or lay down the child on the floor and restrain him or her there. To use physical restraint routinely is controversial. Physical restraint can be perceived as offensive and can also harm the child. An important question is therefore if it is scientifically studied which medical and psychological risks physical restraint can bring on acting-out children.

Question

Are there scientific studies on medical and psychological risks of physical restraint of acting-out children?

SBU Enquiry response consists of systematic literature searches to highlight studies that can address questions received by the SBU Inquiry Service from Swedish healthcare or social service providers. Relevant references are compiled by an SBU staff member, in consultation with an external expert when needed. The quality of the studies identified is not systematically reviewed.

Published: 6/30/2017
Contact SBU: registrator@sbu.se

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